E-commerce site launch bicyclesforyou.Com

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Task 1

You need to do some research to familiarise yourself with the subject area and to gain some ideas about how you can carry out the rest of the project. There are a number of websites that specialise in the sale of bicycles. Use a maximum of 1 hour to review these resources. Bookmark the relevant sites and make notes of information that you can use in your assignment.

http://www.avoncycles.com/

http://www.herocycles.com/about.php

http://www.gtbicycles.com/are/bikes

http://www.atlascyclesonepat.com/

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/

Bicycle companies having e-commerce sites provide information service related to different product range of bicycles they sell with images and descriptions, which suites all age group and gender. It also updates on latest technology, upcoming new quality of product and manufacturing details related to the product. For building relationship and trust, customer feedbacks are requested for improving the product quality and services. Customers can get information on availability of product from respective showrooms or distributor / dealer located in the region. Promotion offers details are available on the site. The e-commerce works in combination to traditional commerce strategy of selling the product to end users.

Task 2

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Produce a project plan for the way you intend to complete the rest of this assignment. For planning, use the timescale you have been allocated for this assignment i.e. from the date you start to the date you submit your assignment. Submit a copy of your plan to your tutor BEFORE you proceed further with the assignment.

Task 3

Using PowerPoint or a similar tool, prepare a maximum of twelve slides that could be used to form the basis of a presentation to the owner of Bicycles For You. The first part of the presentation should explain how a SWOT analysis can be used to identify potential e-commerce opportunities within a company. The second part of the presentation should address the potential benefits that e-commerce could bring to Bicycles For You. For this you should list and briefly describe SIX benefits that you believe e-commerce could bring to the company, taking full account of their existing methods of operation.

The power point presentation copy is enclosed with this assignment.

Task 4

Write a short briefing document of no more than 1200 words that describes each of the following marketing activities and explains the role that they can play in helping to ensure the effective promotion of the new e-commerce site: Branding, E-mail marketing, Banner adverts, CRM, Search engine optimization.

Branding: A brand represents a distinguish pattern of qualities and behaviour that gives the consumer a strong sense of security. There should be consistency in e-commerce branding. It is how consumer perceives your company's image and differentiates the product from all others in the market. It will help in promoting the newly e-commerce site by extending the existing product range on the web. With brand leveraging, the dominant positions can be extended to other products and services. Transferring existing brands to the web is much easier and less expensive. With clearly communication through right message, impressive visuals and delivering true market values will an important part of promoting the e-commerce site. The company's URL should always be included on product packaging. Integrating the URL with company logo on brochures can also be helpful in getting the work out about the web site. Ensuring that the site appears in search engine listings is also very important.

E-mail marketing: E-mail marketing is about communicating to the consumers using electronic mail. It is very powerful element in any company's advertising strategy. For having an effective dialog with their customers on the launch of new e-commerce site, company can use automated e-mail communications. As the conversion rates on requested e-mail messages range from 10 percent to more than 30 percent, which are much higher than the click-through rates on banner ads. This will benefit the company in promoting the existing business through new e-commerce site. The marketing strategy of sending specific information only to people who have indicated an interest in receiving information about the product or service being promoted should be more successful. Email message with hyperlinks inserted will guide customers to the company's website and induce them to stay on the site and consider making purchases.

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Banner adverts: A banner add is a small rectangular object on a web page that displays stationery or moving graphic and includes a hyperlink to the advertiser's web site. Banners ads are versatile advertising vehicles with graphical images which help increase awareness about company web site and its product. Companies use other web sites to display their banner ads through exchange network, place ads on web sites that appeal to one of the company's market segments and pays to those sites to carry the ads, using banner advertising network.

CRM: Customer relationship management is about managing company's interaction with customers. Technology-enabled customer relationship management occurs when a firm obtains detailed information about a customer's behaviour, preferences, needs, and buying patterns, and uses that information to set prices, add product features. With the existing customer database the marketing campaign for promoting of new e-commerce site can be done through direct email.  The e-commerce site will benefit company by creating and tracking specific web activities that help develop the client relationship.

Search engine optimization: Search engine marketing is the medium about promoting the company's website by increasing it's visibility on the search engine and improve the ranking of your website. Assigning specific keywords for the new e-commerce site, website pages can achieve higher ranking in search results with help of optimization.

Task 5

Write a short report (of no more than 600 words) that defines what is meant by supply chain management and describes how this can be used to develop closer links with suppliers and provide enhanced services for customers.

Supply chain management is the management of a network of interconnected businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and service package required by end customers. It is a cross-function approach including managing the movement of raw materials into an organization, certain aspects of the internal processing of materials into finished goods, and the movement of finished goods out of the organization and delivering to the end-consumer.

The purpose of supply chain management is to improve trust and collaboration among supply chain partners, thus improving inventory visibility and the velocity of inventory movement. By engaging suppliers in cooperative, long-term relationships, companies have found that they can work together with suppliers to identify new ways to provide their own customers with faster cheaper and better services. By using internet, companies simply have better and more far-reaching ways to spend up the information flow process and make it more effective. Continual communication and information sharing are key elements in building trust.

Customer service can be enhanced by effective supply chain:-

Better product delivery

With quality information available across all the major points in the company's supply chain, the performance of the company in delivering the correct product, to the correct place, at the correct time, in the correct condition and packaging, in the correct quantities, with the correct documentation, to the correct customer will increase significantly and customers will be served better.

Better responsiveness

When the supply chain is running effectively, it becomes easier for a company to provide accurate information to its customers regarding any product or activity because the information is readily available.

Better reliability

If the supply chain becomes more reliable, the individual member companies (called partners) also become more reliable, at least from a customer service point of view because they tend to give more reliable deliveries and responses to queries.

Faster Responsiveness

The speed at which a supply chain provides products to the customer and resolves their problems improves dramatically, primarily because obtaining the information that customers need requires less effort and fewer procedures. Without supply chain management, many departments requested information from the partners by placing telephone calls. After the call was made, an employee was assigned to handle the particular query. Responding to the queries frequently involved counting items and retaking stock and other time -wasting procedures. Real time information systems in a well designed supply chain eliminate all these procedures and giving speedier returns.

Task 6

Write a briefing note (of no more than 500 words) that lists FIVE main security threats that could pose a risk to the operation of the new e-commerce site. Explain the risks that each of these threats could pose to the site and briefly describe FIVE specific countermeasures that could be put in place to protect against these threats.

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The five main security threats that will pose a risk to the operation of new e-commerce site are as explained below:

Confidentiality threat

Confidentiality is the prevention of unauthorized information disclosure. It allows only authorized parties to read protected information. Breaching confidentiality on the internet is not difficult. If any customer login to ‘Bicycle For You' website that contains a form with text boxes for name, address and e-mail address. When the required information is entered and the information is sent to the web-server for processing, the captured data and the HTTP request to send the data to the server is then sent. If the customer changes his mind and goes to some other website, the other website may choose to collect web demographics and log the URL from the site which the customer just came. By this way the other website breaches the confidentiality by recording the secret information the user has entered.

Integrity threat

An integrity threat exists when an unauthorized party can alter a message stream of information. Unprotected banking transactions are subject to integrity violations. Some other website can represent your website as an original, creating havoc on website. Using security hole in a domain name server, perpetrators can substitute the address of their own website in place of your company's website to spoof website visitors. Integrity threat can alter vital financial information of the company and its customers.

Availability threat

The purpose of availability threat, also known as delay or denial threat, is to disrupt normal computer processing or to deny processing entirely. It involves getting the server to perform a large number of mundane tasks, exceeding the capacity of the server to cope with any other task. Slowing the internet service will drive customers to competitor's website.

Database threat

E-commerce systems store user data and retrieve product information from database connected to the web server. Database connected to your company's e-commerce site contains valuable and private information that can damage the company if it were disclosed or altered. If someone hacks user authentication information, then private and costly information can be revealed.

Communication channel threat

The internet serves as the electronic chain linking a customer to an e-commerce resource. Weak access points in information infrastructure and security that can expose company information and trade secrets.

The specific countermeasures to protect against security threats are:-

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

As there is enormous amount of information exchange over the internet, secure socket layer is a protocol which encrypts data between the customer's computer and the website's server. With the use of secure socket layer, when the clients sends the request to access the company site, the browser identifies the server as a trusted entity and passes encryption key information back and forth.

Server firewall

Firewall protects the server and network from virus attacks and hackers trying to access the personal and confidential information. Having a firewall on the newly e-commerce site will block hackers from accessing to any customer information. It ensures that requests can only enter the system from specified ports and in some cases ensures that all accesses are only from certain physical machines.

Password Policies

Ensure password policies are enforced for customers and internal users as well.

Task 7

Put together an outline project plan for the development and launch of the Bicycles For You e-commerce site. This should be made up of TEN key project stages and associated objectives, together with a brief description of each. The project plan should also include the associated timescales for undertaking these project stages and achieving the specified objectives.

The project plan for launch of new e-commerce site for Bicycles For You will be executed in different stages as explained below:

Benefits

With the growing demand for its product range, company is interested in business expansion and increase profits. There is a potential of increasing sales and decrease costs. E-commerce increases the speed and accuracy with which businesses can exchange information, which reduces costs on both side of transactions.

Project Scope

Define goals for undertaking this project. Specifications about business model which fit for e-commerce site. Estimated time, cost, schedule for launching new e-commerce site. The objective shall be to create and maintain a high revenue e-commerce site which will be one of a kind in the bicycle industries, by developing a new and successful e-commerce business using a combination of e-commerce business models. The site will use business to consumer and business to business models.

Research

Conduct a research on existing business model and for e-commerce business model. Research on products and services which customer demand.

Designing the website and technical requirements

Design the website which should be fresh and appealing, caters to the interests and preferences of your intended market audiences. It should develop a smooth user interface, which makes customer experience enjoyable and pleasant. Approach a service provider for website hosting. Regular site maintenance is necessary to update content, perform technical upgrades.

Review of risks measure

Identify and research possible risks regarding starting up a new e-commerce site, technology costs and marketing / advertising costs. Security control issues for protection and continued operations, if the site goes down due to technical glitches.

Testing

Several functional testing is required prior to the launch of the website. Checking browser compatibility for accessing the website, testing of java scripts flash and other plug-ins for running the visuals and search functionalities.

Marketing

Extensive marketing campaign for the launch of new e-commerce site will be carried out. Branding, social media, direct email and search engine visibility will be used means of marketing for the launch of new e-commerce site. Creating a domain name that's easy to recall and resonates your brand, product and services.

Post-launch

After the launch of e-commerce site, monitor and respond to feedback received from consumer. Updating the site content based on changes in the product development and business process management.